How to Create a Photography Website in 10 Steps
This post was last updated on March 11, 2020.
Looking for a way to showcase your work online without limitations? These ten easy steps will allow you to create a photography website in no time.
Despite their popularity, social media platforms are far from the best way to showcase your work online. Creating a photography website will enable you to display your pictures exactly the way you want, with no limits of size, quality or design. Plus, its search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities will help you reach a wider audience and draw the attention of new clients.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to have a design degree to build a beautiful online portfolio. All you need is to pair your natural eye for composition and aesthetics with the professional tools provided by website builders.
How to create a photography website
Here are the steps you need to create a photography website that represents your own unique style and fascinates your visitors:
Set your focus
Give it your best shots
Imagine your layout
Find the perfect template
Add the right pages
Show how social you can be
Do your photography website’s SEO
Optimize for small screens
Call your best friend
Keep the content fresh
01. Set your focus
Before opening your website builder, sit down a minute and ask yourself what the goal of creating a photography website is. Is it to attract more clients? To display your latest photography project? A bit of both? Your mind must be set before you start, since it’ll help you choose the right images and organize them better.
Typically, most photographers will use the same website to display different types of photography. It’s perfectly fine, as long as you draw a clear distinction between your different themes. Simply create multiple galleries, one for each category displayed: weddings, portrait photography, street captures, etc.
If you have a particularly large set of projects, you might consider going for separate websites. The good news is that with Wix, you can create as many sites as you wish – all of them for free.
02. Give it your best shots
Now that you’ve decided which collections of works you want to display in your online portfolio, it’s time to choose the shots. It’s important to keep in mind that your website doesn’t have the same function as your Instagram account.
On your photography website, you don’t want to publish every single picture that you take, in order to raise engagement. On the contrary: your professional photographer website is meant to display only your best, most representative pieces in each category.
In a nutshell, always pick quality over quantity. Our recommendation: you should go for a maximum of 20 to 30 pictures per gallery. It’s preferable to leave your visitors curious to see more, rather than “overfeeding” them. Plus, overloading your website with images might make it slower – and you know that Internet users are not the most patient, especially on mobile.
03. Imagine your layout
The layout is the visual structure of your portfolio. In the case of a photography website, the driving idea is to make sure that your images remain at the very center – and thus get the attention they deserve.
The first way to do this is by going for a refined color scheme, with a minimal amount of hues. A black (“dark”, in web design slang) or white (“clean”) background is also recommended, since it makes your photos naturally stand out.
Second, consider the type of display you want to use. It should fit the dominant format of your pictures: long scrolling if you take a lot of vertical images (like portraits), grids for horizontal ones, etc. To help you out, here is a very clear guide on choosing the right layout for your online portfolio.
04. Find the perfect template
Professionally-designed free photography website templates offer the opportunity to have a beautiful portfolio ready in no time. As they’re created with the specific needs of each photography genre in mind, you’ll find that they already include most of the sections and tools you need. Of course, they’re entirely customizable – from the header to the footer – so that your website will tell your story from your own unique perspective.
Even if you plan to create a photography website from scratch, browsing different portfolios is a great way to find inspiration and ideas as to how you want to display your work. You can begin by using one of the many Wix templates for photographers created specifically by our designers with artists and professionals in mind.
05. Add the right pages
It’s time to do something you may not have done since the 12th grade: take a pencil to paper. You’ll use them to create the architecture of your photography website - that is, the way your pages are connected to one another.
Write down which pages and sections you want on your website and where they will be placed, in order of importance. Of course, you can adjust your plan at any moment with the Wix Editor, but try to be as detailed as possible: it will considerably ease your workload in the coming stages.
As a photographer, you don’t need too many pages. Here are the absolute must-haves: The homepage This is where you present yourself and what you do. The most common mistake photographers make here is to not utilize written content. We see too many talented artists who put only a picture, thinking that the visuals will do all the talking. For example, if only a beautiful landscape is displayed, how can a user tell a photographer’s website from a travel agency’s one?
Plus, Google, Bing and other search engines desperately need some textual indication to know who you are. Therefore, make sure that your photography logo, name and your expertise are large and legible on your homepage.
To know more: Here is how to nail the homepage of your photography website. The gallery This is the core of your website, where visitors will be able to discover your images. Since it’s the place where the magic happens, you need to carefully choose which online tool to build it with. Look no further: it has a name, and it’s called the Wix Pro Gallery.
This remarkable tool gives you full control over your pictures and the way you want to showcase them. Basically, you’re able to set the quality and sharpness for every image – this way your visitors will see them exactly as you planned. Plus, you can enjoy a wide selection of stunning layouts (Instagram-like grid, panorama, etc.), which are fully customizable.
In addition, The Pro Gallery also comes with numerous options to enhance and promote your photos. You can protect them from being downloaded (right-click protection) or add a sharing button to spread your talent across social channels. The Gallery also gives you the possibility to upload videos and text, adding a greater variety to your final result.
The “About me” This is where people can discover who you are. Granted, it doesn’t mean that you need to write about the day your great-uncle from Alabama offered you your first disposable camera. Your visitors will be much more interested in your philosophy of art and life, your techniques and where you draw inspiration from.
Favor the first-person to the third – it makes things more intimate, and readers will be more inclined to contact you. Of course, don’t forget to include a picture of yourself. Showing who you are and amplifying your personal brand is an absolute must when you create a photography website.
To know more: Here are our 10 favorite tips to write a killer photographer “About” page. The clients’ showcases Like most photographers, you probably do a lot of commission work. Since people tend to feel more confident when they see work for previous clients on display, don’t forget to add some of the stuff you’ve done for your previous clients. Wix Photo Albums is the best and easiest tool for that.
This free app enables you to create stand-alone album sites for each of your customers. There, they’ll find the photos you captured displayed in a stunning layout and branded with your information. It would be a real shame not to add them to your photography website (with your clients’ authorization, of course).
The “Contact” To make sure visitors can easily reach you, there is a maximum amount of information that can go on a clean website. Simply include your email address, phone number and social media accounts.
Don’t forget to add Wix Bookings. This helpful app has already made the life of thousands of small business owners much easier. How? It enables you to display your updated calendar, so that your potential clients know when you’re available for a shooting. As a bonus, you can also let them book and pay online. No more phone calls or emails to answer – your hands are free for what you do best: taking beautiful pictures.
Extras (but highly recommended)
Although optional, these pages can serve your photography website well:
Blog: Tell more about your projects, techniques and news. It’ll help you build a loyal community and give a nice boost to your SEO. You don’t need to be Saul Bellow to write a photography blog. Simply put an image at the center, and write a few lines about what we’re looking at. Which gear did you use? What were you feeling when you took the shot? Where was the picture taken?
Testimonials: Display the (happy) comments left by your (happy) clients. Let them do the talking for you.
06. Show how social you can be
Enabling site visitors to share your content on Facebook and other social media channels is an absolute must. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get your name out there and to attract new clients. First, make sure a social bar is clearly visible on your site, with a link to all of your profiles. It shouldn’t take more than a couple seconds for your visitors to locate it, on any page. We recommend displaying the bar either in the menu, the footer or as an anchor on the side.
Next, enable the sharing option in the Pro Gallery. There is nothing like a powerful image shared and enjoyed on social networks to build up one’s reputation. Last but not least, don’t forget to put your website’s domain name at the top of each of your social profiles to bring your social fans back to your professional site.
07. Do your SEO
It’s a fact: photographers are much more visual than textual. That’s great when it comes to seizing the momentum for a photo, but can be problematic when you have to fill out your tax return or create a photography website. Whether we like it or not, search engines cannot “see” images, they can only read words. So if you want your website to be visible on the internet and thus, bring more traffic, you’ll have to make an effort and use the keyboard.
Begin your SEO strategy by describing each image in the “Title” and the “Description” fields of your Wix Pro Gallery. Known as alt text, this description tells what’s shown in the picture with basic, simple wording. Be as sincere as you can, and avoid artificial information and keywords – Google’s robots will likely penalize you if they realize you tried to cheat.
On top of SEO optimization, alt text descriptions will help your pictures to be found more easily in Google Images, where the competition is less harsh than on the main search results page.
Are your images descriptions all set? Find out the next steps you can take with our complete SEO guide for photographers.
08. Optimize for small screens
Smartphones and tablets are taking over! In 2019, over half of all online traffic came from mobile devices. Thus, one of the major challenges photographers face when it comes to their online portfolio is ensuring that it will be easily seen on mobile. Don’t forget to optimize your design accordingly.
Good news: the Wix Pro Gallery is fully responsive. Which means that it instantly adapts to any screen – without need to further customize. As for the other elements of your website, the Wix Editor lets you optimize your mobile website design in a few minutes by simply dragging and dropping your elements. Just don’t forget to do so before you hit publish.
Want to know more? Check now if your photography website is really mobile-friendly.
09. Call your best friend
Not to debate your feelings on the last Star Wars movie, but to ask for an outside opinion on your freshly designed photography website.
It’s very hard to be impartial when it comes to anything you created yourself – especially when it’s for the first time. Hearing someone else’s feedback will help you optimize the navigation, fix any design clumsiness and eliminate the wandering typos.
10. Keep it fresh
Update your website regularly. Those paying a visit after a few months should always see new images on your site to excite them. First because they care about you, and want to know that you’re still producing great work. But also because in today’s world, up-to-date has become a synonym for reliable.
Luckily, Wix makes it super intuitive for you to upload your pictures from your desktop. You can also use the Instagram Feed app, that’ll automatically update your Instagram pictures straight on your website.
By Jonathan Sitbon
Editor-in-Chief of the Wix Blogs